My twin sister is, and always has been, a conversation piece. During induction activities, when asked to reveal an ‘interesting fact’ about myself, instead of facing the usual internal frenzy of panic, I simply say, ‘I have an identical twin sister’. Cue the flurry of excited questions.
It goes without saying that every set of identical twins is different; I know some that are completely inseparable, deliberately dressing the same and finishing each other’s sentences. I can confirm that this is not the case with me and Laura. We once accidentally wore the same outfit to Sixth Form, which resulted in a heated argument in the maths corridor, and whenever we accidentally speak in unison, we exchange a disgusted look. Having been lumped together as ‘the twins’ throughout our lives, rarely being called by our own names and sometimes treated as a sort of comedy duo, we both crave our independence.
It has to be said that being an identical twin plays host to a lot of comedic opportunities. Laura and I can frequently be found in clubs and bars, convincing drunk people that we’re complete strangers who have just met in the toilets. I once attended her parents’ evening appointment for English pretending to be her, feigning an admission to her oblivious teacher that I (Laura) sometimes took inspiration from my sister’s (Beth’s) English essays as ‘they’re just so good ‘. Our mum likes to fondly recount being called in to our head teacher’s office when we were in reception after we had swapped classes because I didn’t want to do PE. Despite this, being a twin is often a source of frustration for the both of us.
We are bombarded by the same questions, over and over. No, we can’t read each other’s minds (no matter what Laura says – ‘twintuition‘ does not exist). Yes, we have the same bra size (although I’m pretty sure that’s just a coincidence). She’s thirteen minutes older than me, and acts like it too. She’s slightly taller than me. No, we’re not doing the same degree. Yes, we argue a lot. Yes, she’s my best friend. Yes, we look the same (hence the term ‘identical’).
People often seem to forget that twins are completely individual people, with entirely separate interests and personalities. Just because we look the same, doesn’t mean we are the same. Laura and I admittedly do have lots in common; we like the same music and TV shows, as well as sharing a sense of humour. However, that’s true of your average set of close friends. There are an abundance of areas in which we clash, too. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be seen dead in some of her clothes, and she feels the same about a lot of mine. We have completely different tastes in men, we had different subject preferences in school, Laura’s a cat person whereas I’m a dog person, and so on.
When results day rolled around and she screamed excitedly down the stairs that she was going to Manchester and I responded with the news that I was going to Southampton, family and friends expressed concern that we were attending universities 224 miles apart and would miss each other. We had an unspoken agreement to not say goodbye; it would be too weird. We were both terrified about living so far away from each other, as we drunkenly admitted to one another when celebrating on results night, sobbing on the pavement near a taxi rank. However, we surprised ourselves by hardly missing each other at all. We allowed ourselves to get swept up in our new lives, relishing in our first true taste of individuality. In fact, we’ve become a lot closer since being at university (turns out she’s much easier to get along with when she’s 224 miles away).
When people ask us what it’s like having an identical twin, we tell them that it’s like living with your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time. Twins truly do have a unique relationship and although she does my head in, I genuinely don’t think I could survive without her.